Take Five With E.J. Strickland
- John Coltrane, Live at the Half Note (Impulse!);
- Wynton Kelly, Kelly at Midnite (Vee Jay Recordings);
- Common, Like Water for Chocolate (MCA/Universal Records);
- Stevie Wonder, Talking Book (Motown);
- Meshell Ndegeocello, Bitter (Warner Brothers).
How would you describe the state of jazz today? Jazz is very alive and creative today. Yet, we are out of touch with the general public. Fault belongs to both the audience and the musicians, but mostly to the music business as a whole. If jazz had the same backing that record execs give to more popular music, we'd be much better off. But, we as musicians also have a responsibility to get back in touch with the people, "by any means necessary."
What are some of the essential requirements to keep jazz alive and growing? I think exposing the youth to this music early on is the key. But, not just exposing them to some lame jazz. Exposing them to the very best we have to offer, whether it be early jazz, or present jazz. I also think that it's important for us not to turn off listeners by snobbishly putting their music down, and insulting other genres of music, as if we're superior. 'Cause, let's face it, when it comes down to it, there's good and bad in all music...ours too.
What is in the near future? May 19, 2009 is the release date for my debut album, In This Day on Strick Muzik. In addition to many other guests, it features my core quintetJaleel Shaw: alto sax; Marcus Strickland: tenor and soprano saxophones; Luis Perdomo: piano and Hans Glawsichnig: bass. Further ahead, in the summer, my brother Marcus Strickland will release his sixth album as a leader Idiosyncracies, also on Strick Muzik.
Practice, compose, listen to music.
If I weren't a jazz musician, I would be a: I really can't see myself doing anything else...I really believe that this is my calling.